Friday, 16 September 2016

The Battle of Horn Reef WWI 1914

Five Rejects got together last weekend for a WWI game, unusually for us it wasn't a land battle, but a sea battle!! Also resident Evil Umpire Postie was playing not umpiring!! That honour went to Reject John, who bought over his collection of 1/2400 ships and his three Tiny Wargames mats.
We picked out sides out of the hat, me and Surj (Germans) were pitted again BigLee and Evil Postie (Brits). You can read Lee's battle report here.

The battle plan was simple, the German High Seas fleet were stuck on the wrong side of the Horn Reef sandbanks, and had to wait for an undetermined time to cross them safely. Also there was a minefield all along the edge of the smaller mat, leading out into the open ocean , with only two narrow corridors left open for access. If we could we had to lure the Brits into the minefield. Otherwise we were to engage the fleet and destroy them.

Order of Battle German High Seas Fleet (Surjit and Ray)
   Helgoland (Battleship) 12" Guns
   Grosser Kurfurst (Battleship) 12" Guns
   Bayern (Battleship) 15" Guns
   Hannover (Pre Dreadnought) 11" Guns
   Schliesen (Pre Dreadnought) 11" Guns

   S53 (Torpedo Boat) 3" Guns + 4 Torpedoes
   S54 (Torpedo Boat) 3" Guns + 4 Torpedoes
   S55 (Torpedo Boat) 3" Guns + 4 Torpedoes

   S56 (Torpedo Boat) 3" Guns + 4 Torpedoes

   V44 (Torpedo Boat) 3" Guns + 4 Torpedoes
   V45 (Torpedo Boat) 3" Guns + 4 Torpedoes
   B109 (Torpedo Boat) 3" Guns + 4 Torpedoes
   B110 (Torpedo Boat) 3" Guns + 4 Torpedoes
   Sayolitz (Battle Cruiser) 11" Guns
   Lutzoli (Battle Cruiser) 12" Guns
   Leipzig (Light Cruiser) 4" Guns + 2 Torpedoes
   Nurnberg  (Light Cruiser) 4" Guns + 2 Torpedoes

British Grand Fleet (BigLee and Postie)
   Ajax (Battleship) 13.5" Guns
   Benbow  (Battleship) 13.5" Guns
   Ramillies  (Battleship) 15" Guns
   Thunderer  (Battleship) 13.5" Guns
   Britania (Pre Dreadnought) 12" Guns
   Inflexible (Battle Cruiser) 12" Guns
   Indomitable (Battle Cruiser) 12" Guns
   Tiger  (Battle Cruiser) 12" Guns

   Monmouth (Armoured Cruiser) 6" Guns + 2 Torpedoes
   Glouchester (Light Cruiser) 6" Guns + 2 Torpedoes
   Rifleman (Destroyer) 4" Guns + 2 Torpedoes
   Fury (Destroyer) 4" Guns + 2 Torpedoes
   Africa (Pre Dreadnought) 12"
   Liverpool (Light Cruiser) 6" Guns + 2 Torpedoes
   Mameluke (Destroyer) 4" Guns + 2 Torpedoes
   Oberon (Destroyer) 4" Guns + 2 Torpedoes

The German big boys Helgoland, Grosser Kurfurst, Bayern, Hannover &
Schliesen at anchor.

The German Torpedo boats (on the right) patrol the waters looking for the enemy

We spot each other...

My SMS B110 is the first ship to take fire.

Come on tide........ the Seydlitz, Lutzow, Leipzig and Nurnburg all wait patiently.

Me and Surj managed to get into Torpedo range,
but of course that meant we were also in close range of the British guns! 

It was hard trying to keep a line....

Turn 4 - At last the tide is high enough for the German big boys to try and get
into the action.

Turn 5 - The first casualty!!
HMS Fury sinks  S53

Then HMS Rifleman has a lucky shot and S56 goes down as well!
but on our return of fire Surj manages to damage HMS Glouster, which is dead in the water.

My V44 fires a torpedo at HMS Mamluke which blows up and sinks.

HMS Liverpool and SMS S54 both slug it out....

Great dice rolls from both sides cause catastrophic damage to both ships
who both sink!

The British big boys arrive on the table.

Including HMS Thunderer and HMS Ramillies

The German High Seas fleet manoeuvres through the minefield and try and link up.

Surj did his usual, pushed all his ships far to close to mine, so I had to split my force
and go in two directions???

But we finally managed to get into some semblance of a line.

And we all fired along the line.

Surj very bravely pushed his last torpedo boat up into close range

In one of the last shots of the game the Seydlitz damages HMS Indomitable's rudder.
After this John, called the end of the game as night was closing in  so the ships pulled apart to lick their wounds.
It was a close game, but the German High Seas Fleet were victorious, nearly all ships on both sides were damaged, some more than other, but the Brits lost a Battle Cruiser, 2 Light Cruiser's also effectively another the Gloucester that was drifting off table and 2 Destroyers, while the Germans only lost 4 Torpedo boats.


HMS Gloucester - Dead in the water
HMS Mameluke
HMS Oberon
HMS Liverpool
HMS Inflexable

This was the first time I've played WWI ships and the first time I've played John's rules. John's rules were fairly simple and very effective, they did give you a great feel for the period, so I shall be looking forward to another game with these and maybe if I'm lucky...........another win????


  1. Yeh it was a great game. We got too close to your destroyers in that first engagement and when we did we failed to use our own torpedoes for those decisive hits. A mistake we won't make again!

  2. It was a close and very enjoyable game, we were both very pleased you and Postie forgot about your torpedo's!!

  3. Nice one Ray. Such a nice change from the Napoleonic games I see in the shed of war. One might almost think you were enjoying something a little modern.

  4. And you played the enemy! Knew there was something shady about you, Ray.
    At least a sea battle is easy setup, right?

    1. Very, very dodgy as Fran used to say??? The set up took all of 5 minutes, now that does indeed make a change.

    2. Speaking of Fran, I still miss the posts you guys used to do when you are at work together. Good days, eh?

  5. Great detail in those tiny ships. I don't recall seeing a naval game from you. Will you be contributing assets to this project?

    1. I'm sure I posted an 18th century ship game once upon a time, but this is definitely my first and not the last WWI sea battle. As for helping out on the project, I think John's got it fairly covered........thank goodness, not sure how my eyes would handle painting the detail on the ships???

  6. Postie gets his comeuppence then in a hard fought game - about time!
    That looked a really fun game, simple but effective rules are the way to go.

    1. Its about time isn't it??? And it was a real fun game.

  7. Glad to see a naval battle in this period!

    1. Indeed, there's a first time for everything Phil.

  8. Love the models! Looks like you all played using the Nelson Touch. As long as no one got kissed by hardy. :)

  9. The ships are great, it goes without saying, but I really dig the waters splash markers and the oil slicks. Those are a nice touch.

    1. The water splashes are believe it or not, the end of cotton buds!

  10. Interesting and certainly a departure from your usual games.